This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Scarecrow88’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I honestly stare at my screen after certain movies and I’m like, “I don’t have anything to fucking contribute to the conversation or debate about this long discussed film over 56 years.”
I think in my case, how I felt, if it means anything important, is this sense of melancholy when Thomas visits the park, both at night, and later in the morning. He finds the body, just lying there, and what we hear is the wind catching the trees and leaves. That’s it. The rest is silence. Of course, the next morning the body would be gone. If Redgrave’s Jane and (if there was a shooter in the bushes) someone else had went through the trouble of ransacking Thomas’ (Hemmings) apartment for the photographs and negatives implicating her (or them), the body certainly wouldn’t be left behind for the police to find the next day. While I found the discovery of the body eerie –at night, a twig snapping was the loudest noise you hear, with just this sinister “quiet disquiet” available as Thomas sort of surveys the scene– the park with no body sort of left me feeling rather, I dunno – not really heartsick – rather heavy-hearted. I recall Thomas speaking to Patricia (Sarah Miles) about his experience in the park after passing by a room of painter Bill’s (John Castle) while she was fucking him. Their scenes together seem to indicate a complicated relationship of some sort. I was thinking they might be sexual on occasion and awkwardly have romantic feelings between each other never quite fully developed or realized. Bill might be Patricia’s current lover, but an early scene shows her very affectionate towards Thomas while he seems to shrug her off.
I won’t lie: I don’t like Thomas. I think the film is just magnificent, but I would never pretend (or defend his behavior) to like this guy we must follow for an entire running time who discards women or talks to them as he does. When he shouts at models to smile, with one shaken clearly to her core at a bark he lets off in her face, how could anyone with any decency think that is okay. I personally felt he got a kick out of treating them this way. Veruschka tells Thomas she’s been waiting for nearly an hour for him to arrive, only for Thomas to brush aside her rightful complaint, because he knows these models want to work in front of his camera lens. I assume this happened alot…who am I kidding, this still probably happens.
One of the most striking moments in the film is Thomas walking out with others down on their luck and enduring homelessness and poverty. He carefully breaks from the group, tip-toeing almost to his convertible before heading back home to his swanky pad, with all its space and comforts. These human beings were images to photograph, meant for some sort of album, his chum, Ron (Bowles), responsible for making sure his work gets publicity, probably critical acclaim, and perhaps a small fortune. After undressing from the “homeless outfit”, he tells an assistant to burn the clothes.
Obviously, the film spends plenty of time with Thomas and the women who either want to be photographed by him or need something from him. And, in return, he considers them "bitches" and "birds", opining to Ron about them in a cafe. So his investigation into a possible murder never really made me feel he was looking to "do the right thing". I think he was just given something that sparked an interest, sort of rattled his cage, was a break from the ongoing malaise .
A thought that did cross my mind when Redgrave vanishes at the club and Hemmings vanishes in the park…what is it with Antonioni films and people disappearing with no one to care about their departure?
That was neat seeing the Yardbirds in the club, though. What a time of music and for Antonioni to be right there during it is cool.